In December 2019 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a draft 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and invited public comment. The plan is intended not only to provide a roadmap to Federal agencies but also to “…provide signals to the private sector on the direction of the federal government, which may guide coordination and investment decisions” and serve as a “catalyst for activities” (p. 21)
We have spent years involved with the management of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs which were created by the HITECH Act (2009). These programs were recently renamed Promoting Interoperability (PI) programs. In a nutshell, these programs were tied to the Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs and provided financial incentives over a number of years to ambulatory providers and hospitals to adopt and use EHRs. Vendors submitted their technology products for testing and certification that they performed specific functions and could exchange data using specified message formats.
On December 5, 2019, Michael Suralik, project manager at HLN, attended The Sequoia Project’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. TEFCA and Information Blocking were the big topics of the day. It was a very substantive meeting and there was vibrant back and forth discussion and exchange of ideas between and among the presenters and the other meeting participants (see this report that summarizes the meeting).
HLN attended the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) 2019 Leadership in Action Conference in New Orleans, LA on December 10-11. Bringing together over 200 Immunization Program Managers, staff, and associated non-profits and vendors, the conference provided leadership training to attendees in a number of areas as well as regional sessions to discuss issues important to Immunization Program activities. AIM also celebrated its 20th anniversary at the event. HLN was again a Bronze sponsor of the conference. “We feel it’s critically important to continue to support events such as these,” commented Dr. Noam Arzt, president of HLN who attended the meeting, “It’s essential that public health officials have the opportunity to discuss issues in common, and to learn from each other.”
In November 2019 the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a new report, Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing HHS. Divided into six major sections, this report reviews the OIG’s observations with respect to financial integrity of HHS programs, value and quality, protecting the health and safety of beneficiaries as well as the public at large, harnessing data to achieve these goals, and working across government.